Abbie in "GEEK" t-shirt, Nerd Nite Amsterdam Nov 2015 Hello! I’m Abbie, a PhD candidate in astronomy working with Phil Uttley at the Anton Pannekoek Institute, University of Amsterdam. I research how matter behaves in strong gravity using spectral-timing analysis of X-ray binaries (see my research page for more details; slated to defend in Fall/Winter 2017), and I’m involved in the Python in astronomy and open science communities. Swing by my blog or Twitter to see what I’m up to, and say hi at the next conference!

Edmonton, AB

I lived in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada for two years while working towards my MSc in astrophysics at the University of Alberta, and I defended in August 2013. My thesis, “Understanding Parameter Degeneracies in Neutron Star X-ray Light Curves”, involved simulating neutron star thermonuclear X-ray burst oscillations and fitting the pulse profiles with an evolutionary optimization algorithm. My thesis available here and the published paper is available here.

While in Edmonton I was a part of the Assiniboia Community Housing Co-operative, a progressive housing co-operative that strives for social and environmental awareness and activism in the context of community living. Members have been working on an archive of the co-op’s rich history, which you can read here.

Annandale-on-Hudson, NY

I did my undergrad at Bard College, a small liberal arts school in upstate New York, where I majored in physics and (effectively) minored in mathematics. In my senior year I completed an undergraduate thesis in general relativity (titled “A Mathematical Exploration of Low-Dimensional Black Holes”, available here) and received a Bachelor of Arts in May 2011!

At Bard I was also involved in theater and choir. I was in Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins, two opera choruses (David Bruce’s A Bird In Your Ear and Maurice Ravel’s L’Enfant et les sortileges), an opera workshop piece, two 24-hour theater festivals, and a staged cantata. I also sang in the Chamber Singers for 4 semesters.

Rochester, NY

Originally from Rochester, NY, I graduated from the International Baccalaureate program at (what was then called) Wilson Magnet High School in 2007. At Wilson, I was actively involved in Girls’ Varsity Swimming and Drama/Video Club (now Dream Visualize Create, a community theater group).


In my free time, I enjoy geeking out about interior and graphic design, feminism, coding, social and political activism, internet memes, and cute animals. I keep active with jogging, walking, yoga, and recreational team sports. There are many blogs that I read on a regular basis, and I drink a lot of tea. I like to travel often, and my favourite places to visit in a new city are the natural history museum and the nicest park. My blog, updated sporadically, is a mishmash of astronomy/academia, coding/tech, and travel/expat life.